Women Ministers Speak Out on Climate Change

Gender Equality is Essential to Addressing the World's Climate Crisis; Global Institutions and Governments to Bring Message to UN Global Climate Change Conference in Bali

New York, 10 December 2007- Generating solutions to the world's escalating climate change crisis hinges on women's leadership on all aspects of sustainable development and natural resource management. Four global institutions - Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), World Conservation Union (IUCN), and United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) - plan to bring that message to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali, 3 -14 December 2007.

Women throughout the world have an important role to play in taking action on climate change?as leaders in community natural resource management, catalysts of change, innovators, farmers and caretakers of families. "As women have specialized skills, they can offer invaluable contributions to improve our current climate mitigation and adaptation strategies. To harness this largely untapped knowledge and expertise, we must develop national capacity to include women in decision-making stages of policy development on climate change response," said Winnie Byanyima, Director of UNDP's Gender Team

Women comprise the majority of the world's poor. A fact that amplifies the destructive impact climate change has on women. From New Orleans to Bangladesh, more women die and suffer from disasters.

"Disasters, like poverty, have a woman's face," said June Zeitlin, Executive Director of WEDO. "The Asian Tsunami, hurricanes in Central America, cyclones in Bangladesh, droughts in many arts of Africa, Hurricane Katrina?in all of these examples, women and children made up the majority of the fatalities and displaced persons."

IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefevre said, "If we are to be successful in addressing one of the most challenging environmental and social issues of our time ? climate change ? we must incorporate a gender perspective in this work."

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), said: "Women, especially in developing countries are on the front-line in respect to climate change as they are in respect to so many pressing sustainability issues." It is high time that the international community met its responsibilities - responsibilities to women, to gender equality and ultimately to meeting the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, "said Mr. Steiner.

At the Bali conference, WEDO, UNDP, IUCN, and UNEP, in partnership with the South African Ministry of Environment and the Council of Women World Leaders, will organize a meeting of the Network of Women Ministers for the Environment, calling for gender equality and women's empowerment to be central to climate change solutions. The outcomes of the Network meeting will be shared with the media and high-level government and civil society representatives at a reception on Tuesday, December 11 from 6-7:30pm in the Grand Hyatt. This event will also introduce the Global Gender and Climate Change Alliance that is working to integrate a gender perspective in climate change strategies at all levels.

Women's Environment & Development Organization (WEDO)

Founded in 1991, WEDO is an international organization that advocates for gender equality in global policy. In September 2007, WEDO organized a high-level roundtable on gender and climate change on the occasion of the UN Secretary-General's High Level Climate Change Event. At the Bali conference, WEDO, UNDP, Heinrich Boell Foundation, and ActionAid will present the side event Adaptation and Gender Equality: Experiences from the South, on Monday, December 10th 8-9:30pm. Find more information about WEDO's work on climate change and gender equality at www.wedo.org

World Conservation Union (IUCN)

Created in 1948, the World Conservation Union brings together 84 States, 108 government agencies, 800 plus NGOs, and some 10,000 scientists and experts from 147 countries in a unique worldwide partnership. The Union's mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable. Since 1998, IUCN has been supporting the mainstreaming of gender in the environmental sector. IUCN in collaboration with UNDP, WEDO and UNEP, will be supporting the Network of Women Ministers of Environment during COP-13 in Bali as well as the launching of a new Global Gender and Climate Change Alliance. More information can be found at www.genderandenvironment.org

United Nations Development Program (UNDP)

UNDP is the UN's global development network, an organization advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. UNDP is on the ground in 166 countries, working with them on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. As part of its commitment to gender equality and women's empowerment, UNDP supports developing the capacity of its national partners to adopt approaches that advance women's rights and take account of the full range of their contributions to development.

During the COP-13 in Bali, UNDP will be supporting the meeting of the Network of Women Ministers of Environment, co-hosting several events on gender and climate change and launching the new Global Gender and Climate Alliance (GGCA) together with its partners: UNEP, IUCN and WEDO.

More information can be found on www.undp.org/gender

United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)

UNEP's mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnerships in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. For over 20 years, UNEP has played a pioneering role in linking women and the environment and taking a leadership role in ensuring that gender issues are placed on the international environment agenda

UNEP has placed climate change as one of its priority areas and is particularly committed to ensuring that climate change interventions are gender responsive. Accordingly, in line with commitments under the Bali Strategic Plan UNEP will undertake to enhance its capacity and that of its collaborating partners in this endeavor. For further information, please visit www.unep.org/gender


Rosemary Musumba, WEDO - rosemary@wedo.org
John Kidd, IUCN, john.kidd@iucn.org
Nick Nuttal, UNEP - nick.nuttal@unep.org
Niamh Collier, UNDP - niamh.collier@undp.org


 © United Nations Environment Programme | privacy policy | terms and conditions |contacts